Easy Ways to Give Your Business Writing More Impact


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Mark Twain once said, “the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Solid writing can propel your target into action, inspire them, compel them.

Weak writing, regardless of your medium, is equally impactful, but in the opposite direction. It can weaken your case. It can change the way others look at you.

Everybody writes, but not everybody writes well.

The best, but maybe not most practical, way to get better at business writing

The secret to electric writing is no real secret at all.

  • Write all the time and take it seriously.

As long as you know the rules, practice makes perfect.

If you don’t know the rules to golf, you won’t know whether you got a birdie or bogie, or whether you should aim for the water feature or the sand or just pack up and go home.

Writing for business (or any kind of writing) is the same. You have to know some basic rules, like when to use a comma or start a new paragraph.

But once you have that foundational knowledge, the more you write, the better you get at it. The best writers in the world scribe down words in otherworldly volumes.

  • Stephen King writes no less than 2,000 words each day.
  • Hemingway wrote about 1,000 words each day, whether working on a novel or not.

This is where the practicality part comes in.

It’s not practical to think you can spend most of your morning practicing your writing so your afternoon emails come through as you intend.

So we'll give you the next best thing to practice. The most common problems writers come across when reviewing words recorded by the untrained hand.

Keep it simple

Get to the point!

Look back at the quote we started this blog with.

Mark Twain wrote each word with intention, and left words out where others would have expanded.

He didn't say “...and almost the right word is the same as the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

He didn't have to say “is the same as,” because it's unnecessary. It makes the sentence harder to read, slows the momentum of the sentence. When momentum slows, a reader is more likely to click away.

They teach you this mantra in journalism and marketing: Keep it simple, stupid.

If you can take a word out and it doesn't change the meaning of your writing, out with it!

How can you make this sentence more impactful?

  • My neighbor has said that he had left the dog in the garage when he was looking for the keys to his car.

We'll come back to that.


Cut “that” out

Nothing is more frustrating to language aficionados than pervasive, infectious overuse of that.

  • I have to tell you that I don't like your writing
  • The President announced that the White House would undergo massive redesigns

Aah! “That,” has no business in those sentences. It weakens each and makes both more difficult to read.

Every time you type that, re-read the line it's on and hold your hand over delete.

Don't be passive

Evaluate your writing and ensure you're active. (*note, 9 out of 10 people – an unofficial statistic – would write “...ensure you're being active.”

Never use the word “being.” It weakens your language and weakens your position. It's passive. Stay away from it!)

It can be subtle and unnoticed upon quick reading, but passive phrasing has no place in meaningful, impactful writing.

  • I had asked you to reply to the first email that I sent earlier in the week.


  • I asked you to reply to the first email I sent.

Never shy away from assertiveness in your writing. When selling a product or service online, each word is a step toward your objective, and needs to compel buyers to move.

Had word

Had word

Had had

Double had. It happens all the time and takes the momentum out of a sentence.

  • He had had a long drive home from work Thursday night

Anything slowing the momentum of a sentence should be rethought, and had-had qualifies. It falls into the realm of too-many-small-words-in-one-place.

It's also passive and weak. Even a single had should be evaluated. Search for an alternative.

Read your emails once before you hit send. If you find the momentum of the message slows around a series of small words, rewrite!

You're off to the races

That's all it takes (that has a place in writing, just not where most of us use it). You probably won't become Tolstoy overnight, but your writing will be sharper, more compelling, more impactful with a little intentionality.

  • Keep it simple
  • Get rid of that
  • Be active
  • Watch your had-hads

Now, can you make this sentence from the beginning of this blog better?

  • My neighbor has said that he had left the dog in the garage when he was looking for the keys to his car.

Our team of professional copywriters can make every sentence on your website work toward your goal, increasing quality leads and putting your website in front of clients ready to take action.

Get in touch with us to learn more today.


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